How parents can proactively prepare for the next ADHD medication shortage.
by ADDitude Editors
Two months ago, the sky was falling in for parents of children with attention deficit disorder. ADHD medication shortages — Ritalin and its generic equivalents, as well as the amphetamine Adderall and its generic forms — popped up in several states. This forced parents to speed-dial doctors and dozens of pharmacies to find the medication their child depends on to manage symptoms.
While some in the media blamed the ADHD medication shortages on the usual suspect — big pharma producing more extended-release formulations that bring them more profit, at the expense of making less expensive generics — some reasonable voices tried to accurately explain why the shortages occurred. William B. Dodson, M.D., who treats adults with ADHD in Greenwood, Colorado, and is a medical advisor to ADDitude, was one of them. "The extended-release argument doesn’t hold water since the generics are produced and sold by generic manufacturers — not the manufacturers of the brand-name medications,” says Dodson.
“In a nutshell, the shortage occurred because the Drug Enforcement Agency did not take into account, during the last allotment period, the fact that the two biggest selling stimulants — Concerta and Adderall XR — were going generic,” adds Dodson. “The agency didn’t give the generic manufacturers and wholesalers an accurate quota to meet the demand for these new, popular generics.”
Well and good. But what about children not having the meds they need — or parents having to drive 40 miles to a pharmacy several counties away for a month’s worth of Ritalin?
What can parents do the next time the drug quota process breaks down?
These tips may save you worry, time, money, and gas.